For the first time in the history of the IIHF Women’s World Championship, the U.S. and Canada will not play for the gold medal.
Former UND standout Susanna Tapani scored the game-winning goal as Finland stunned Canada 4-2 in the semifinals of the World Championship on Saturday.
Tapani’s goal came with 3:42 left in the second period -- it was assisted by her former UND teammate Michelle Karvinen -- and it stood as the winner.
Finland will play the U.S. in Sunday’s gold-medal game.
"I just can't believe this right now," Tapani told TSN after the game. "It's awesome. We really deserved this. We've been waiting for this moment for many years."
There have been 18 World Championships since 1990 and all of them have featured the same final. Canada has won 10, the U.S. has won eight.
Finland has played in the bronze medal game in all 18 World Championships, winning it 12 times.
But that will change this year.
- IIHF (@IIHFHockey) April 13, 2019
The Finland upset will go down as one of the top two in women’s hockey.
In 2006, a Sweden team led by former UND associate coach Peter Elander stunned the U.S. in the semifinals at the Turin Olympics. The Swedes won silver that year and the Americans bronze, marking the only time that the U.S. and Canada haven’t played for gold at the Olympics.
Former UND players have played a key role on this Finland team.
Karvinen is the team’s top-scoring forward -- and one of the tournament’s overall top-five scorers -- with seven points in six games. Tapani has five points, ranking in the top 15 of all point producers. Both played more than 20 minutes in the upset of Canada.
Former UND forward Emma Nuutinen also is on the Finnish team.
Canada outshot Finland 45-19, but former Minnesota goalie Noora Raty stopped 43 of them to get the win.
Canada jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:32 into the first period on a goal by Jamie Rattray. But Finland tied it at 16:23 of the first on a goal by Ronja Savolainen.
Finland briefly took a 2-1 lead on a goal by star defenseman Jenni Hiirikoski at 6:50 of the second period, but Patty Kazmaier Award winner Loren Gabel of Clarkson tied it just 63 seconds later.
Tapani scored late in the second to give the Finns the lead for good and Savolainen iced it with an empty-netter.